/ Tennis

Rafa Nadal through after tussle with Lukas Rosol

Updated: Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 21:36 | Comments

Nadal won 4-6 7-6(8-6) 6-4 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes Nick Kyrgios was one of five Australians to reach the second round of the men's singles
Nadal won 4-6 7-6(8-6) 6-4 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes Nick Kyrgios was one of five Australians to reach the second round of the men's singles

Lightning threatened to strike twice for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon as his 2012 conqueror Lukas Rosol took a set from the world No.1 in Thursday's second-round tussle.             

But Rosol, who shocked Spaniard Nadal at the same stage two years ago, could not maintain the charge and went down 4-6 7-6(8-6) 6-4 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes on Centre Court.             

The pair produced some electrifying tennis, with the tall Czech firing down unreturnable serves and Nadal fighting his way back into the match by luring 52nd-ranked Rosol into baseline rallies.   

After an exhausting fortnight on clay, French Open champion Nadal said he was always going to struggle to settle on grass, and Rosol gave him some timely practice before his third-round clash with Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, who beat lucky loser Frank Dancevic in straight sets.    

Nadal said: "It was very important, the second set. To play against a player like Rosol, two sets down, big server, it would have been big, big danger.

"I don't play for revenge. Every match is a different match. Today was another match and I tried to win. My goal was not Rosol. My goal was to try to play well.

"It doesn't matter if it's Rosol or another player who beat me in the past or not.

"I don't play for revenge. Every match is a different match"

"I think I had a good answer after big trouble between the first and second set."

"Is the best level I played on grass since a long time ago, the last three sets, and that is very important news for me.

"I really know that I had the chance to lose the match, but I didn't today. That is the positive thing for me and I am very happy for that."

Nadal, who had not reached Wimbledon's third round since 2011 having lost his opening match last year against unheralded Belgian Steve Darcis, faced two break points in the ninth game following a double fault.

The Spaniard saved them both with winners but later hit a low return into the net to hand Rosol a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve for the set, which the world number 52 did to love.

Rosol had won only two grand slam matches since his famous victory over Nadal two years ago, but did reach the final of the ATP 250 event in Bucharest during April.

The 6ft 5ins Czech continued to thunder down serves of 120 miles per hour, which Nadal just could not deal with.

The Spaniard then lost his own service to love as Rosol, growing in confidence, held comfortably to move 4-2 ahead.

However, Nadal dug deep to rally back, pumping his fist to the crowd as he moved 30-love up in the eighth game.

A long return handed the number two seed three break points, which he secured at the second attempt to level the set, 4-4, with both men holding serve to bring up the tie-break.

Rosol broke to lead 5-3, but Nadal responded to save a set point.
The world number one kept the pressure on at 7-6, and then levelled the match following a double fault by Rosol, as perhaps the occasion was finally getting to the big Czech.

Nadal forced a couple of break-point chances in game three of the third set, one after a superb return to flick over a drop shot, and seized a lead that he refused to let slip.

The world number one maintained his momentum to break to love in the first game of set four, soon surging 3-1 up.

After saving a break chance when serving for the match, Nadal eventually claimed victory at the third time of asking when Rosol's return was long.

There were no second-round hiccups for Roger Federer this year as he breezed past qualifier Gilles Muller under the Centre Court roof.

Last year Federer suffered his earliest Grand Slam defeat in a decade when Sergiy Stakhovsky caused one of the great Wimbledon upsets.

Like Stakhovsky, Luxembourg's Muller is a serve-volleyer, but Federer dealt well with the threat this time to win 6-3 7-5 6-3 in front of his parents, who were watching from the Royal Box.

Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios staged a stunning comeback to beat French 13th seed Richard Gasquet 3-6 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5 10-8.            

Roared on by a sizeable Australian contingent on Court Two, the 19-year-old wildcard completed the biggest win of his career with his 21st ace of a thrilling match that lasted nearly four hours.

The highly-rated Kyrgios, one of a batch of young Australians hoping to revive the fortunes of the powerhouse nation, flung his racket to the turf after completing victory.

He was one of five Australians to reach the second round of the men's singles - the most since 1999 - and will fancy his chances of further progress when he meets unseeded Czech Jiri Vesely in the next round.      

Veesly beat 24th-seeded Gael Monfils 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 6-7 (1/7) 6-7 (7/9) 6-4 in more than three hours on Court 12.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was made to wait again for his victory over Sam Querrey of America, coming through an epic clash 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 14-12 which had been held over from Wednesday, with the deciding set tied at 9-9 overnight.

It was the second match in a row which the French 14th seed had to finish a day later than planned, but he was pleased to have secured a place in round three.

Tenth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan defeated American Denis Kudla 6-3 6-2 6-1.

Spain's Tommy Robredo, seeded 23rd, beat Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4 6-1 7-6 (7/5).

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